Questions? Call us toll free:


                BOOKS            ART PRINTS            NEWS & REVIEWS             ON SALE NOW                COMING SOON               CONTACT
Richer Resources Publications




Art Prints

Corporate Sales

Academic Sales

Retailers & Distributors

Fundraising & PTAs

Interviews & Reviews

About Us


Shipping & Ordering

Press Releases






The Iliad [Abridged]

Book One
The Quarrel at the Ships


Sing, Goddess, sing of the rage of Achilles, son of Peleus—

that murderous anger which condemned Achaeans

to countless agonies and threw many warrior souls

deep into Hades, leaving their dead bodies

carrion food for dogs and birds—

all in fulfillment of the will of Zeus.


Start at the point where Agamemnon, son of Atreus,

that king of men, quarreled with noble Achilles.

Which of the gods incited these two men to fight?


That god was Apollo, son of Zeus and Leto.                                                         10

Angry with Agamemnon, he cast plague down

onto the troops—deadly infectious evil.

For Agamemnon had dishonoured the god’s priest,

Chryses, who’d come to the ships to find his daughter,

Chryseis, bringing with him a huge ransom.

He begged Achaeans, above all the army’s leaders,

the two sons of Atreus:1


“Menelaus, Agamemnon, sons of Atreus,

all you well-armed Achaeans, may the gods

on Olympus grant you wipe out Priam’s city,                                            20

and then return home safe and sound.

Release my dear child to me. Take this ransom.

Honour Apollo, far-shooting son of Zeus.”

All the Achaeans roared out their support:


“Respect the priest. Take the generous ransom.”


Displeased, Agamemnon dismissed Chryses roughly—


                                                               “Old man,

don’t let me catch you by our hollow ships,

sneaking back here today or later on.

I’ll not release the girl to you, no, not before

she’s grown old with me in Argos, far from home,                                    30

working the loom, sharing my bed. Go away.

If you want to get home safely, don’t anger me.”

The old man, afraid, obeyed his words, walked off in silence,

along the shore by the tumbling, crashing surf.

Some distance off, he prayed to Lord Apollo,

Leto’s fair-haired child:


                    “God with the silver bow,

hear my prayer: Force the Danaans

to pay full price for my tears with your arrows.”

So Chryses prayed. Phoebus Apollo heard him.

He came down from Olympus top enraged,                                                             40

carrying on his shoulders bow and covered quiver,

his arrows rattling in anger against his arm.

So the god swooped down, descending like the night.

He sat some distance from the ships, shot off an arrow—

the silver bow reverberated ominously.

First, the god massacred mules and swift-running dogs,

then loosed sharp arrows in among the troops themselves.

Thick fires kept burning corpses ceaselessly.


For nine days Apollo rained death down upon the troops.

On the tenth, Achilles summoned an assembly.                                                     50

White-armed Hera put that thought into his mind,

concerned for the Danaans, seeing them die.

The men gathered. The meeting came to order.

Swift-footed Achilles rose to speak:


“Son of Atreus,

I fear we’re being beaten back, forced home,

if we aren’t all going to be destroyed right here,

with war and plague killing off Achaeans.

Come now, let’s ask some prophet, priest,

interpreter of dreams—for dreams, too, come from Zeus—

a man who might say why Apollo is so angry,                                           60

whether he faults our prayers and offerings,

whether somehow he’ll welcome sacrificial smoke

from perfect lambs and goats, then rouse himself

and release us from this plague.”

                                                Achilles spoke and took his seat.

Then Calchas, Thestor’s son, stood up before them all,

the most astute interpreter of birds, who understood

present, future, past. His skill in prophecy,

Apollo’s gift, had led Achaean ships to Troy.

He addressed the troops, thinking of their common good:


“Apollo does not fault us for prayers or offerings,                                   70

but for his priest, disgraced by Agamemnon,

who did not free his daughter and take ransom.

That’s why the archer god has brought disaster,

and will bring still more. He won’t remove

this wretched plague from the Danaans,

until we hand back bright-eyed Chryseis,

give her to her beloved father, freely,

without ransom, and offer holy sacrifice

at Chryse. If we will carry out all that,

we may change Apollo’s mind, appease him.”                                           80

So he spoke and sat back down. Then, Atreus’ son,

wide ruling, mighty Agamemnon, stood up before them,

incensed, spirit filled with huge black rage.

Eyes blazing fire, he rounded first on Calchas:


“Prophet of evil, when have you ever said

good things to me? You love to predict the worst,

always the worst! You never show good news.

Now, in prophecy to the Danaans,

you say archer Apollo brings us pain

because I was unwilling to accept                                                                90

fine ransom for Chryses’ daughter, Chryseis.

But I have a great desire to take her home.

Still, I’m prepared to give her back, if that’s best.

I want the people safe, not all killed off.

But then you’ll owe me another prize.

I won’t be the only Argive left without a gift.

That would be entirely unfair to me.

You all can see my spoils are going elsewhere.”

At that point, swift-footed Achilles answered the king:


“Noble son of Atreus, most acquisitive of men,                                       100

how can brave Achaeans give you a prize now?

There are none left for us to pass around.

We’ve divided up what we allotted,

loot from captured towns we devastated.

For men to make a common pile again

would be most unfair. Send the girl back now,

as the god demands. Should Zeus ever grant

we pillage Troy, a city rich in goods,

we’ll give you three or four times as much.”

Mighty Agamemnon then said in reply:                                                                   110


“Achilles, you’re a fine man, like a god.

But don’t conceal what’s in your heart.

You’ll not trick me or win me with your words.

You intend to keep your prizes for yourself,

while the army takes my trophy from me.

That’s why you tell me to give Chryseis back.

Let Achaeans give me another prize,

equal in value, something I’ll enjoy.

If not, then I’ll take a prize myself by force,

The man I visit is going to be enraged.                                                       120

But let’s postpone discussion of all this.

Let’s drag a black ship down to the sacred sea,

select a crew, load oxen on for sacrifice,

and Chryseis, that fair-complexioned girl,

so with a sacrifice we may appease

the god who shoots from far away.”

Scowling grimly, swift-footed Achilles interposed:


“You insatiable creature, quite shameless.

I didn’t come to battle over here

because of Trojans. I have no fight with them.                                         130

They never stole my bulls or horses,

or razed my crops in fertile Phthia,

where heroes grow. Many shady mountains

and the roaring sea stand there between us.

But you, great shameless man, we came with you,

to please you, to win honour from the Trojans—

for you, dog face, and for Menelaus.

You don’t consider this, don’t think at all.

You threaten now to confiscate the prize

I worked so hard for, gift from Achaea’s sons.                                         140

When we Achaeans loot some well-built Trojan town,

my prizes never match the ones you get.

The major share of war’s fury rests on me.

But when we hand around the battle spoils,

you get much larger trophies. Worn out in war,

I reach my ships with something fine but small.

So I’ll return home now, back to Phthia.

It’s far better to sail back in my curved ships.

I don’t fancy staying here unvalued,

to pile up riches, treasures just for you.”                                                    150


To that, Agamemnon, king of men, shot back:


“Fly off home then, if that’s your heart’s desire.

I’ll not beg you to stay on my account.

I have others around to honour me,2

especially all-wise Zeus himself.

Of all the kings Zeus cherishes, it’s you

I hate the most. You love constant strife—

war and combat. So what if you’re strong?

Some god gave you that. So scurry off home.

Take ships and friends. Go rule your Myrmidons.                                     160

I don’t like you or care about your rage.

But I’ll make this threat: I’ll take your prize,

fair-cheeked Briseis. I’ll fetch her in person.

You’ll see just how much I’m the better man.

And others will hate to speak to me as peers,

in public claiming full equality with me.”

As Agamemnon spoke, Peleus’ son, Achilles,

was overwhelmed with anguish, heart torn two ways,

debating in his shaggy chest what he should do:

Should he draw out the sharp sword on his thigh,                                                 170

incite the crowd, kill Atreus’ son, or suppress his rage,

control his fury? As he argued in his mind and heart,

he slid his huge sword part way from its sheath.

At that moment, Athena came down from heaven.

White-armed Hera sent her. She cherished both men,

cared for them equally. Athena stood behind Achilles,

grabbed him by his red-brown hair, invisible to all

except Achilles. In astonishment he turned.

At once he recognized Pallas Athena,

the dreadful glitter in her eyes. Achilles spoke—                                                    180

his words had wings.


“Child of aegis-bearing Zeus,

why have you come now?1 Do you wish to see

how overbearing Agamemnon is?

I’ll tell you where all this is going to lead:

that arrogance will soon cost him his life.”

Glittery-eyed Athena then spoke in reply:


“I came down from heaven to curb your passion,

if you obey. White-armed Hera sent me.

She loves you both alike, cares equally.

Give up this quarrel. Don’t draw your sword.                                             190

Fight him with words, so he becomes disgraced.

For I say to you, and this will happen,

because of Agamemnon’s arrogance

some day gifts three times greater than this girl

will be set down before you. Control yourself.


Swift-footed Achilles answered Athena:


“Goddess, men should follow your instructions,

though angry in their hearts. It’s better so.

The person who’s obedient to the gods,

the gods attend to all the more.”

                                                        Obeying Athena’s words,                                  200

Achilles relaxed his huge fist on the silver hilt

and pushed the massive sword back in its scabbard.

Athena then returned to heaven, home of Zeus,

who bears the aegis, and the other gods.


Achilles turned again on Agamemnon, Atreus’ son,

with harsh abuse, his anger still unabated:


“You drunken sot, dog-eyed coward, timid as deer.

A king who gorges on his own people!

You lord it over worthless men. If not,

son of Atreus, this would be your last offence.                                         210

I’ll tell you, swear a great oath on this point,

by this sceptre, which Achaea’s sons take in hand

whenever they do justice in Zeus’ name.

An oath on this has power. On this I swear—

the time will come when Achaea’s sons

all miss Achilles, a time when, in distress,

you’ll lack my help, a time when Hector,

that man killer, destroys many warriors.

Then grief will tear your hearts apart,

because you shamed Achaea’s finest man.”                                             220

So the son of Peleus spoke, throwing to the ground

the sceptre with the golden studs. Then he sat down,

directly facing furious Agamemnon.


Then Nestor stood up, clear, sweet orator from Pylos.

Sweeter than honey the words flowed from his tongue.

Concerned about their common good, he said:


“Alas, this is great sorrow for Achaeans.

Priam and Priam’s children will be glad,

the hearts of other Trojans swell with joy,

should they find out about such quarreling,                                             230

a fight between you two, among Danaans

the very best for counsel or combat.

But listen. You are both younger men than I.

And I’ve been colleague of better men than you,

Yet they heard me and followed my advice.

So listen, both of you. That’s what’s best now.

Agamemnon, you’re an excellent man,

but do not take Briseis from Achilles.

Let that pass. Achaea’s sons gave her to him first.

And you, Peleus’ son, don’t seek to fight the king,                                 240

not as your enemy. Son of Atreus, check your anger.

Set aside, I urge you, your rage against Achilles,

who provides, in the middle of war’s evils,

a powerful defence for all Achaeans.”

Mighty Agamemnon then replied to Nestor:


“Old man, everything you say is true enough.

But this man wants to put the rest to shame,

rule all of us, lord it over everyone.

But some, I think, will not obey him.

So what if the gods, who live forever,                                                         250

made him a spearman? Is that some reason

we should let him say such shameful things?”

Achilles, interrupting Agamemnon, shouted:


“I’d be called a coward, a nobody,

if I held back from any action

because of something you might say.

Order other men about. Don’t tell me

what I should do. I’ll not obey you any more.

But I will tell you this—remember it well—

I’ll not raise my hand to fight about that girl,                                             260

no, not against you or any other man.

You Achaeans gave her to me, and now,

you seize her back again. But you’ll not take

another thing from my swift black ship—

you’ll get nothing else with my consent.

If you’d like to see what happens, just try.

My spear will quickly drip with your dark blood.”

Then they stood up, dissolving the assembly by the ships.

Agamemnon dragged a swift ship down the shore,

chose twenty sailors, loaded it with oxen,                                                               270

offerings for the god, and led on fair-cheeked Chryseis.

Shrewd Odysseus shipped on as leader. All aboard,

they set off, carving a pathway through the sea.


Atreus’ son ordered troops to cleanse themselves.

The men bathed in the sea, washed off impurities.

They then made sacrificial offerings to Apollo—

hundreds of perfect bulls and goats—beside the restless sea.

Savory smells curled up amid the smoke high into heaven.


The men thus occupied, Agamemnon did not forget

the challenge he’d made earlier to Achilles.                                                             280

He called his heralds, Talthybius and Eurybates:


“Go to Achilles’ tent, Peleus’s son,

take fair-complexioned Briseis by the hand.

Bring her to me. If he won’t surrender her,

I’ll come myself in force and take her.

For him that will be a worse disaster.”

With these firm orders, he dismissed the men, who moved off,

heavy hearted, along the shore of the restless sea.

They reached the huts and ships of the Myrmidons.

There they found Achilles seated by his hut                                                           290

and his black ship. As he saw them approach,

in his heart Achilles sensed their purpose. He called them.


“Cheer up, heralds, messengers for gods and men.

Come here. I don’t blame you, but Agamemnon.

He sends you both here for the girl Briseis.

Come, Patroclus, born from Zeus, fetch the girl.

Give her to these two men to take away.

Let them both witness, before blessed gods,

mortal men, and that unfeeling king,

if ever there’s a need for me again                                                               300

to defend others from a shameful death.”


Patroclus did as his dear comrade had requested.

He led out fair-cheeked Briseis from the hut

and gave her up to be led off. The heralds went back,

returning to Achaean ships, Briseis with them,

but against her will.


                                            Achilles then, in tears,

withdrew from his companions, sat by the shore,

staring at the wide gray seas. Stretching out his hands,

he cried aloud, praying repeatedly to Thetis,

his beloved mother.


“Mother, since you gave me life—                                                             310

if only for a while—Olympian Zeus,

high thunderer, should give me due honour.

But he doesn’t grant me even slight respect.

For wide-ruling Agamemnon, Atreus’ son,

has shamed me, has taken away my prize,

appropriated it for his own use.”

                                                        As he said this, he wept.

His noble mother heard him from deep within the sea,

where she sat by her old father. Quickly she rose up,

moving above gray waters, like an ocean mist,

and settled down before him, as he wept. She stroked him,                                 320

then said:


                    “My child, why these tears? What sorrows

weigh down your heart? Tell me, so we’ll both know.

Don’t hide from me what’s on your mind.”

With a deep groan, swift-footed Achilles then replied.


“Why should I tell you what you know? Heralds came

to take away Briseis from my huts,

the girl who is my gift from Achaea’s sons.

So now, if you can, protect your son.

Go to Mount Olympus, implore Zeus,

if ever you in word or deed have pleased him.                                           330

For often I have heard you boast in father’s house

that you alone of all the deathless gods

saved Zeus of the dark clouds from disgraceful ruin.

Clasp his knee, remind him of all that,

so he’ll want to help the Trojans somehow,

corner Achaeans by the sea, by their ships’ prows,

have them destroyed, so they all enjoy their king,

so the son of Atreus, wide-ruling Agamemnon,

himself may see his foolishness, dishonouring

Achilles, the best of the Achaeans.”                                                           340


Thetis, shedding tears, answered her son, Achilles:


“O my child, why did I rear you,

since I brought you up to so much pain?

But I’ll tell these things to thunder-loving Zeus.

I’ll go myself to snow-topped Mount Olympus,

to see if he will undertake all this.

Meanwhile, you should sit by your swift ships,

angry at Achaeans. Take no part in war.

I’ll go to Zeus’ bronze-floored house, clasp his knee.

I think I’ll get him to consent.”

                                                            Thetis spoke.                                                     350

Then she went away, leaving Achilles there.


Odysseus sailed to Chryse, bringing with him

the sacrificial animals as sacred offerings.

When they had sailed into deep anchorage,

they took in the sails and stowed them in the ship,

then rowed the ship in to its mooring place.

Then Chryseis disembarked from the ocean ship.

Resourceful Odysseus led her to the altar,

placed her in her beloved father’s hands, then said:                                 360


“Chryses, I have been sent by Agamemnon,

ruler of men, to bring your daughter to you,

and then, on behalf of the Danaans,

to make an offering to lord Apollo—

all these sacrificial beasts—to placate the god,

who now inflicts such dismal evil on us.”

Raising his arms, Chryses prayed out loud on their behalf:


“Hear me, god of the silver bow, protector

of Chryse, mighty lord of holy Cilla,

sacred Tenedos. You heard me earlier,                                                        370

when I prayed to you. Just as you honoured me,

striking hard against Achaeans then, so now,

grant me what I pray for—remove disaster,

this wretched evil, from the Danaans.”

So Chryses spoke. Phoebus Apollo heard him.


Meanwhile, Achilles, divinely born son of Peleus,

sat down in anger alongside his swift ships. Not once

did he attend assembly where men win glory,

or go out to fight. But he pined away at heart,

remaining idle by his ships, yearning                                                                        380

for the hue and cry and clash of battle.


Thetis did not forget the promise to her son.

She rose up through the ocean waves at day break,

then moved high up to great Olympus. She found Zeus,

wide-seeing son of Cronos, some distance from the rest,

seated on the highest peak of many-ridged Olympus.

She sat down right in front of him. With her left hand,

she clutched his knees, with her right she cupped his chin,

in supplication to lord Zeus, son of Cronos:


“Father Zeus, if, among the deathless gods,                                             390

I’ve ever served you well in word or deed,

then grant my prayer will be fulfilled.

Bring honour to my son, who, of all men

will be Fate’s quickest victim. For just now,

Agamemnon, king of men, has shamed him.

He seized his prize, robbing him in person,

and kept it for himself. But honour him,

Zeus, all-wise Olympian. Give the Trojans

the upper hand, until Achaeans respect my son,

until they multiply his honours.”                                                                 400


Cloud gatherer Zeus, greatly troubled, said:


“A nasty business.

What you say will set Hera against me.

She provokes me so with her abuse. Even now,

in the assembly of immortal gods,

she’s always insulting me, accusing me

of favouring the Trojans in the war.

But go away for now, in case Hera catches on.

I’ll take care of this, make sure it comes to pass.

Come, to convince you, I’ll nod my head.

Among gods that’s the strongest pledge I make.                                                 410

Once I nod my assent, nothing I say

can be revoked, denied, or unfulfilled.”


Zeus, son of Cronos, nodded his dark brows.

The divine hair on the king of gods fell forward,

down over his immortal head, shaking Olympus

to its very base. The conference over, the two parted.

Thetis plunged from bright Olympus back into the sea.


[At a meeting of the gods, Zeus quarrels with Hera, who has guessed

what Zeus has just promised to do for Thetis. Hephaestus soothes

everyone. The gods enjoy a rich feast and then retire to bed.]



The Iliad [Abridged] by Homer  - an excerpt















1Agamemnon and Menelaus, the two sons of Atreus, are both commanders of theAchaean army. Agamemnon is the senior of the two.







2The aegis is Zeus’ special shield, the sight of which has the power to terrify men and make them run away. Sometimes other gods use it.

About Us

At Richer Resources, we are dedicated to the creation of high quality books, art and other media intended to enrich the lives of individuals of all ages. 
As an independent publisher, we are bound by a sense of integrity and quality to produce products which enhance the lives and vision of individuals everywhere.

Sign up to receive notice of free eBooks, new releases and special subscriber-only offers.

(You can unsubscribe at any time)

Visit our EBooks section for previews of all of our titles.
Are you a teacher looking for new titles, a non-profit looking for fundraising ideas or a corporation looking for incentive gifts? Follow this link to learn about our special programs.